Hope this isn't a rude question, but is photography your main source of income or do you do the 9-5 elsewhere?
Not rude at all. Yes I do have a “normal” job. I have a separate job, and really started back into photography as my “passion,” because I want something that I do only for myself, and something separate that I make money from.
I went to film school and then worked in the film industry “climbing the ladder” to be a director. But then i realized that working in the film industry really made me hate film making and the world that surrounds it. So I decided to quite my job and pursue a job that could pay more money, still be rewarding and give me the freedom to pursue photography exactly how I want to.
The freedom to say “no I dont want to shoot that thing that seems awful even if you pay me” makes all the difference in the world when you want to keep a passion alive.
Its a tough thing to make money off your passion and not lose the passion; and for me the way to do that is to keep them separate. I work in technology and business consulting and have worked for many years in the film industry. Ive gone back and forth between filmmaking and photography and I follow what drives me and I feel passion for.
Because I have a job that allows that flexibility, for me that freedom is worth it. Its not always easy to do both, but anything worth doing isnt easy.
I do debate moving to making money off photography, which would mean taking paid work id currently turn down, which would in turn mean shooting digital and compromising how I work. To date, Ive not gotten a offer that seems better than the system I have. Ideally if I could shoot something I enjoy, even if its not nude girls all day every day, and it financially supports me and provides the freedom necessary it’d be great; American Apparel Im looking at you!
But for now I enjoy the balance of the two.
I get messages about this kind of thing a lot and I think its important that people get that any creative job is going to be a hard life. For some its hard for short period, some its too hard and they give up, some strike a balance like me. But like I said above anything worth doing is hard, so stick to it and find what system works for you and keep pushing. I think that whatever you want to do you should be aware that you should have the talents you love, and the skills that can make money to back those up, and/or support them.
Anyway thats my 2 cents.
[Edit: One addition to this, and something I think people commonly forget. To shoot analogue film and Polaroid is QUITE an expense. To purchase film and process, as film prices go up, realistically youre looking at $25 per roll. Impossible Project/Polaroid film, when discounted from buying in bulk is about $20 per 8 shots. In an average shoot you’re looking at 5 to 10 rolls of film and 3 to 6 packs of Polaroid/Impossible Project. So in just film alone we are talking $185 to $370 on film alone conservatively. Most times its rare that its under $300 out when its all said and done. Digital that cost would be 0 (after purchasing the cameras, which the above assumes as well).
So for Julie and I to shoot any model we are at least $300 out of pocket, plus location, plus clothing, props and accessories. That’s a pretty hefty overhead. Granted we get things donated or lent to us from time to time, but to do the work we do there’s a lot of cost, time and work that goes into it. Without a job to support all of that, at least up front for shoots that pay, it would all be for not.
So why do it?, you may ask. Because its what I love to do. We love to work together. Its our passion and its worth every cent. Without the freedom that a separate job presents Id have to shoot digital, Id have to shoot only photos that may sell and Id have to with business in mind all the time. Thats not why I shoot photography and currently Im lucky enough that I dont have to make it that way either.
I was wondering how much you charge for photo shoots and if you would be willing to do a maternity shoot, as well as one with me and the baby after she's born.
I dont have set rates for any shoot. Id be interested in hearing more about what you’re thinking. Traditionally this isn’t something Id shot, or have shot, but I’m definitely intrigued to hear more about what you’re thinking. Email me at email@example.com